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Turkish Press Review, 03-11-06
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> e-mail : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
06.11.2003FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN: “TURKEY WON’T LET UP ITS EFFORTS FOR A CYPRUS RESOLUTION”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that Turkey wanted a permanent resolution on Cyprus, vowing further that there would be no retreat from this policy. Speaking on the EU’s Progress Report on Turkey released yesterday, Erdogan said that Turkey’s reforms had long been appreciated. “We’ll continue our work with the same determination,” said Erdogan. Commenting on the report’s warning that lack of a resolution on Cyprus could pose a “series obstacle” to Turkey’s EU bid, Erdogan said that Ankara’s Cyprus policy favored a fair and permanent settlement on the island. “Retreat from this policy is unthinkable,” he added. “Turkey’s stance is already well known by the all EU countries.” /Sabah/
 GUL: “THE EU REPORT ON TURKEY IS OBJECTIVE”Commenting on the European Commission’s annual Progress Report on Turkey released yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called the report an objective document. “The points made were true in general,” stated Gul. “It contended that our reforms passed have been positive, but that there have been certain delays in their implementation.” Regarding the Cyprus issue, which the report warned if left unsolved could cause a “serious obstacle” to Turkey’s EU bid, Gul said that the issue was not a political criterion for the Union. Stressing that all sides wanted a resolution, Gul pledged steadfast efforts to solve the island’s issues by May 2004, when Greek Cyprus is due to join the EU. /Sabah/
 EU PROGRESS REPORT: “RESOLUTION OF CYPRUS ISSUE IS NOT A PRECONDITION FOR ACCESSION TALKS, BUT FAILURE THERE COULD BE A SERIOUS OBSTACLE”The European Union Commission yesterday released its annual 140-page Progress Report and 40-page Strategy Paper on Turkey, laying out both Ankara’s steps forward and shortcomings on the road to EU accession. The long-awaited report praised Ankara’s recent reforms, but added, however, that their positive effects had been limited so far due to slow implementation. The strategy paper said that a resolution on the Cyprus issue was not a precondition for Ankara to begin accession talks, but warned that failure to reach a resolution there could constitute a “serious obstacle.” The report is the penultimate one before December 2004, when the Union is due to decide whether or not to begin Turkey’s accession talks. /All papers, http:__www.deltur.cec.eu.int_english_e-g-regular-01.html /
 TALABANI: “THE TURKISH TROOP DEPLOYMENT ISSUE IS CLOSED”Jalal Talabani, leader of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) and current holder of the Iraqi Governing Council’s rotating presidency, said yesterday he would pay an official visit to Ankara on Nov. 19 to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to “ease the atmosphere.” Speaking to reporters, Talabani also issued what seemed a final rejection of a proposed deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq, saying, “The question of sending Turkish troops is closed.” Since Turkey’s Parliament gave a green light to the deployment last month, the council – and especially its Kurdish members – has expressed opposition, but Turkish Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu earlier this week said the deployment was still possible. Turkey and northern Iraq’s Kurds have a history of sometimes- chilly relations with Ankara. /Milliyet/
 FIRST OFFICIAL KURDISH LANGUAGE COURSE OPENSTurkey’s first official Kurdish language course began in the southeastern city of Batman yesterday. Headmaster Aydin Unesi said that engineers and teachers were among some 150 students enrolled in the course. Saying that such classes play an important role in Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Unesi added, “Through this course, people who speak Kurdish in our southeastern region will no longer confuse Turkish and Kurdish. They will be able to speak more clearly.” Allowing courses in mother tongue languages was among EU-required reforms passed in recent months, reforms which the EU has stressed must be actually implemented. /Hurriyet/
 PARLIAMENT RE-APPROVES FOREST LAW AMENDMENTSParliament yesterday re-approved without any changes two articles of a bill proposing amendments to the Forest Law. In August, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed these articles, arguing that they were unconstitutional. The bill was passed again with the support of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies harshly criticized the bill. CHP Deputy Yasar Tuzun charged that the bill could lead to the destruction of some 100,000 hectares of forests as well as flood disasters in the Black Sea region. /Star/
 AKCAKOCA STEPS DOWN FROM BRSA HELMBanking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) Chairman Engin Akcakoca stepped down from its post yesterday. After over two-and-a-half-years in office, Akcakoca turned in his resignation to State Minister Abdullatif Sener, telling reporters, “I believe bringing fresh blood into the institution would make positive contributions to its position in the future.” Sener proposed Halkbank General Director Tevfik Bilgin (36) as Akcakoca’s successor, following the prime minister’s approval. /Milliyet/
 NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER ARRIVES IN ANKARANorwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik arrived in Ankara yesterday for an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bondevik was welcomed by officials of the Foreign Ministry and the Norwegian Embassy. During his meetings today, bilateral relations between Turkey and Norway are to be comprehensively discussed and projects on concrete cooperation considered. /Star/
 IMF’S BREKK: “EXECUTIVE BOARD MAY CONVENE LATER THIS MONTH TO RELEASE A $500 MILLION TRANCHE”International Monetary Fund Turkey representative Odd Per Brekk said yesterday that the Fund’s Executive Board could convene by month’s-end in order to release a credit tranche to Turkey of $500 million. Speaking to reporters, Brekk said that Turkey’s continued determined implementation of the nation’s economic program would also reduce its high debt stock. /Aksam/
 BAYKAL APPOINTS CHP DEPUTY CHAIRSRepublican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday reshuffled the party’s four deputy chairmen slots. Esref Erdem and Cevdet Selvi retained their posts, while Kemal Dervis and Onur Oymen were newcomers to the office. All four are alos parliamentary deputies. Dervis, former state minister for economy under the Bulent Ecevit government, will be deputy chair for the economy, while Oymen will be responsible for foreign relations. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 THE EUROPEAN UNION’S MESSAGE BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on the European Union’s annual Progress Report on Turkey which was released yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Over the last 24 hours, all our attention has zeroed in on a single sentence. The issue is Cyprus, and the document in question is the EU Commission’s new Progress Report on Turkey, which includes a ‘Strategy Paper’ warning Ankara that a failure to help achieve a peace settlement on Cyprus would damage its chances of joining the EU. Despite intense last- minute lobbying by Ankara, the EU Commission refused to alter the sentence, and the full report, parts of which were previously leaked to the press, was officially released yesterday. It states that Turkish membership could face ‘a serious obstacle’ if Cyprus is not reunited before next May, when Greek Cyprus is due to join the Union. However, the members of the commission also underlined that resolution of the Cyprus problem isn’t strictly a precondition for Turkey’s beginning of its membership talks.
At first glance, these statements may seem contradictory. If the EU commission doesn’t see resolution of the Cyprus problem as a precondition, then what’s this talk about ‘a serious obstacle’? In fact, the commission members are trying to highlight that although the Cyprus issue doesn’t constitute an obstacle in principle, Turkey is likely to face problems in practice unless it’s resolved before May. Similar warnings have been made previously by various EU commissioners, which is why it should come as no surprise this time around.
Now Ankara should concentrate on this fact: The EU Commission is determined to put pressure on Turkey to reach a permanent settlement on the island. If we fail to make progress by May, our hopes of starting membership talks next December are very likely to be blocked. One can argue that this recent situation contradicts previous EU documents, including the Helsinki Declaration. Turkey has always argued that the settlement of Cyprus issue should be seen as a separate issue. However, under the current circumstances, it’s clear that there’s a ‘de facto’ connection between the two issues. Now Turkey will either buck this situation, risking damage to its relations with the EU, or else will go on making moves on its path towards full membership without paying too much mind to this fact.
This is a political decision to be made by Ankara. According to official sources, our government seems to be determined to launch new initiatives and new efforts in the coming months to help achieve a permanent settlement on the island. We hope these efforts will begin as soon as possible.
As a matter of fact, this year’s progress report shows that now the EU has a more positive and constructive position on Turkey’s membership when compared to past. Therefore, we shouldn’t ruin this positive atmosphere by focusing on only one sentence, to the exclusion of the report’s positive aspects.”
 THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFORM BILL AND THE CYPRUS ISSUE BY CUNEYT ARCAYUREK (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek comments on the new public administration reform bill and the Cyprus issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The drawbacks of the public administration reform bill are slowly emerging, and the sentence about Cyprus added to the European Union report on Turkey at the last moment is the latest example of a move to lead Turkey down a dead-end street. The government seems to be giving public servants a favor, as it’s about to conclude the public administration reform bill and put off the Iraq issue. Up to now the public administration reform bill has gotten a muted reaction. We don’t know yet what the main opposition party thinks of it. The first reactions are still coming in. The Prime Ministry’s Inspection Council’s letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted this bill’s measure removing the inspection mechanism as ‘a deliberate attempt against the basic structure of the republic and the state.’ Or is this just an attempt to destroy the state’s memory?
What’s the point of attaching all schools except universities and colleges to special administrations? If the aim is to let schools be influenced by political and religious movements in their home regions, of course this method means serving their own interests. However, it doesn’t take a genius to predict that this arrangement would damage national integrity and the secular republic and deal a blow to the understanding of the unitary state.
The EU Commission put the condition about Cyprus into writing in its new progress report and this vexed our Foreign Ministry, as if EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen hasn’t been saying for months that it would be impossible for Ankara to get a date for membership talks before the Cyprus problem is solved. However, the government’s policy isn’t clear. Erdogan opposed inclusion of a solution to the Cyprus issue in the progress report, arguing that the Copenhagen criteria didn’t include Cyprus. So the West was using Cyprus as an excuse not to give a date. Doesn’t Erdogan’s stance show that he knew beforehand that the EU’s progress report would refer to the Cyprus issue?”
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